Club rugby team holds annual Pink Game

Published: September 25, 2015

 SUBMITTED PHOTO: THEODORE DOWD THE SCRANTON Norsemen club rugby team poses with East Stroudsburg University after their annual Pink Game to raise breast cancer awareness. This year, the program raised almost $2,000 for Colleges Against Cancer.


SUBMITTED PHOTO: THEODORE DOWD / THE SCRANTON Norsemen club rugby team poses with East Stroudsburg University after their annual Pink Game to raise breast cancer awareness. This year, the program raised almost $2,000 for Colleges Against Cancer.

MIKE DOMBROSKI
Sports Correspondent

This weekend, the Scranton Norsemen club rugby team looked to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to Lehigh University with a regular season conference match at home. However, this was not any normal game; this was the annual Pink Game for breast cancer awareness.

Held annually during Family Weekend, the men’s and women’s rugby clubs, in coordination with Colleges Against Cancer, organize a benefit game in order to raise awareness for breast cancer. The women’s club, The Valkyries, designs and sells t-shirts, while the men’s club played in a set of pink jerseys made especially for the game, with an auction-style sale following the match. All proceeds from the sales of the t-shirts and jerseys go directly to Colleges Against Cancer, which then make a donation to the American Cancer Society.

“It is so great to have a University sport that is dedicated to raising Breast Cancer awareness, and one that even wears pink jerseys to commemorate the event,” Claire Marangelli, the president of Colleges Against Cancer, said. “This year we raised $1,820, which is absolutely amazing. The rugby coach and players are committed and enthusiastic about the event, and that’s what makes it even more of a success.”

“This is a phenomenal way to prepare for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Colleges Against Cancer’s Pink Week, which is Oct. 5th to Oct. 9th,” Marangelli said.

In past years, both rugby clubs have had home games during family weekend, playing teams such as Lock Haven University, Shippensburg University, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

With the sun shining overhead, the Valkyries took the field first against East Stroudsburg University, hoping to earn another victory after defeating Shippensburg University the previous week. The Valkyries came out strong, with tries scored by sophomore Chelsea Malota and senior Amy Verdonik. Both teams played with high intensity, but the Valkyries lost 17-10.

“Previous to the game, we reached out to the organizers of Family Weekend to have the rugby games put on the schedule of events,” said Jenny Bowers, a senior member of the Valkyries.

“We sold t-shirts and baked goods, and we were able to raise around $240. I couldn’t be happier with my senior Pink Game.”

The Valkyries will play Bloomsburg University next week at home.

The Norsemen followed up by playing East Stroudsburg men’s team. Hungry for redemption, the Norsemen took on the larger ESU side in a very aggressive manner. The Norsemen did not concede any points in the first half, and tries by seniors Kevin Whelan and Sa m Bauer, as well as sophomore Blaise Casillo, put the Scranton side ahead 24-0.

During the second half, ESU tried to mount a comeback, but tries by junior Matt Kelleher and senior Brandon Pacyna kept the Norsemen ahead.

Pacyna was also 3/6 on conversions and 1/1 on penalty kicks. With a final score of 39-20, the Norsemen finished a great game for a great cause.

“The guys played with toughness and resolve. They really earned this win,” said Sam Bauer, the president and captain of the Norsemen.

“It was one of those games that reminded me why I love rugby and why I’m so proud to be a part of this program. With our three great coaches and roster of about 50 competitive players, I think we have yet to realize our full potential as a team, and I look forward to seeing what we can become.”

The Norsemen head into a bye week with a record of 1-1, and play their next game at Bloomsburg University.

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